The world's smallest cardiac monitor delivers big benefits for both patients and physicians
DOYLESTOWN, PA – Patients who require continuous cardiac monitoring now have an important new option at the Heart Institute of Doylestown Hospital. On Monday, February 24, electrophysiologist John Harding, MD implanted an innovative monitoring device in a patient who has atrial fibrillation.
Doylestown Hospital is the first in the state to use the Medtronic Reveal LINQ Insertable Cardiac Monitor System. The small, wireless monitor provides long-term remote monitoring to help physicians diagnose and monitor irregular heartbeats.
"The LINQ system provides a powerful tool for arrhythmia monitoring which will open up a new option for many patients in our community. It will also help to diagnose possible causes of stroke and syncope in patients who have been looking for answers as to why they are having these events. We get to keep all the features of the old monitors and add useful new features in a system that is now injectable. It is an incredible advance," Dr. Harding said.
Stephen Sloan, MD, completed the hospital's second LINQ device procedure on Monday afternoon.
Arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. Disorganized electrical signals make the heart beat too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern. The most common type of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation, or AFib. An estimated 3 million American adults have been diagnosed with AFib. Risk increases with age and may lead to fainting, palpitations or even stroke. Arrhythmias and their symptoms often come and go, so physicians use monitors to detect heart rhythm disorders. Implantable cardiac monitors (ICM) can record abnormal heart rhythms over long periods of time.
The Reveal LINQ ICM is about one-third the size of a AAA battery (~1 cc), making it more than 80 percent smaller than other ICMs. It is placed just beneath the patient's skin through a small incision of less than 1 cm in the upper left side of the chest, and is often nearly invisible to the naked eye once inserted. The device is placed using a minimally-invasive insertion procedure similar to an injection, which simplifies the experience for both physicians and patients. It is a quick outpatient procedure that requires just local anesthesia for the patient.
While significantly smaller than other ICMs, the LINQ device is part of a large network that allows physicians to continuously and wirelessly monitor a patient's heart for up to three years. It has 20 percent more data memory than its larger predecessor, Reveal® XT. For patients, this means no trip to the doctor's office to have a battery replaced during those three years.
In addition to its continuous and wireless monitoring capabilities, the system provides remote monitoring through the Carelink® Network. Through this network, physicians can be alerted if their patients have had cardiac events. Physicians can detect these events even when patients may not notice symptoms.
A wireless device in the patient's home captures data from the ICM. The data is regularly downloaded to Medtronic servers through a cell phone connection, and then accessed by physicians in their offices. Because of the wireless technology, a patient can take their home device on vacation and still be continuously monitored by their local cardiologist.
While older monitors require patients to come in to the physician's office about every three months for a 'check up' of the device, the LINQ monitor saves patients these trips to their doctor. Patients with a LINQ monitor can also safely undergo MRI imaging.
About Doylestown Health
Doylestown Health is a comprehensive healthcare system of inpatient, outpatient and wellness education services connected to meet the health needs of all members of the local and regional community. Doylestown Hospital, the flagship to Doylestown Health has 232 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 435 physicians in over 50 specialties. An independent nonprofit health system, Doylestown Health is dedicated to providing innovative, patient-centered care for all ages.